On the Fate of Newspapers by Isabella Lickbarrow

What changes time’s swift motion brings!
What sad reverse of human things!
What once was valu’d, highly priz’d,
Is in a few short hours despis’d.
I’ll but solicit your attention,
While I a single instance mention,
The “Advertiser,” you must know,
Fresh from the Mint not long ago,
We welcom’d with abundant pleasure,
Impatient for the mighty treasure,
In what an alter’d state forlorn,
‘Tis now in scatter’d fragments torn,
Part wrapp’d around the kettle’s handle,
Part twisted up to light the candle,
Part given to the devouring fire:
Ah! see line after line expire;
It surely would, beyond a joke,
The patience of a saint provoke,
To think that after all their pains,
The rhymes which rack’d the poet’s brains,
And all the antiquarian’s learning,
Display’d so justly in discerning
The ancient Saxon derivation
Of half the places in the nation,
And the philosopher’s vast skill,
In measuring each stupendous hill,
From Scarfell down to Benson-knot,
And even hills of lesser note;
To think that what such wits have penn’d,
Should come to this disgraceful end.
Why ’tis enough to make them vow,
With aspect stern and frowning brow,
They’ll such an useless trade resign,
And never write another line.
But stop, good sirs a nobler fate
May your productions yet await;
A thought just now my head has enter’d,
In which alone my hopes are centr’d.
Perhaps, preferr’d the pipe to light,
For some dull heavy witless wight,
They’ll, with tobacco’s fumes, infuse
The inspiration of the muse,
And furnish many an empty brain –
If so, we’ll write and sing again.

From: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2004/aug/07/featuresreviews.guardianreview16

Date: 1814

By: Isabella Lickbarrow (1784-1847)

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